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Karolin Engelkes

Karolin Engelkes



My research focusses on the musculo-skeletal system of frogs and toads (Amphibia: Anura) with the aim at understanding its evolution and functional adaptation.


On the morphological level, the diversity of skeletal shapes and muscle configurations will be assessed and used to reconstruct the states in ancestors. The methods applied include micro-computed tomography, histological serial sectioning, episcopic microtomy, digital 3D reconstruction, geometric morphometrics, and ancestral state reconstruction. High-speed videography and biomechanical techniques like finite element analyses or multibody dynamic analyses will help to explain the observed patterns of character evolution by revealing potential functional adaptations to specific locomotor or feeding habits. On the genetic level, the genes active during the morphogenesis of various musculo-skeletal parts will be identified with the aim of correlating the morphological and genetic diversity. The accuracy, reliability, strengths, or limits of some of the methods applied in the main project will be assessed in side-projects.